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A Review A REVIEWS Historical Romance

Review: Unveiled by Courtney Milan

Publisher: HQN
Date: Out now
Where did you get the book: e-ARC from Netgalley

Blurb taken from author’s official website:

HE WAS HER BITTEREST ENEMY….

Ash Turner has waited a lifetime to seek revenge on the man who ruined his family, and now the time for justice has arrived. At Parford Manor, he intends to take his place as the rightful heir to the dukedom, and settle an old score with the current duke once and for all. But when he arrives, he finds himself drawn to a tempting beauty who has the power to undo all his dreams of vengeance.…

AND HER DEAREST LOVE
Lady Margaret knows she should despise the man who’s stolen her fortune and her father’s legacy—the man she’s been ordered to spy on in the guise of a nurse. Yet the more she learns about the new duke, the less she can resist his smoldering appeal. Soon Margaret and Ash find themselves torn between old loyalties—and the tantalizing promise of passion….

Ash is the eldest of the Turner brothers. He has done everything in his power to see to it that his brothers have everything after a heartbreaking childhood after their sister died, because she wasn’t given the medical help she needed due to their mentally unfit Mother. So he went abroad to amass his fortune. But to do that he had to leave his brothers behind in the care of his mother. When Ash returns from abroad, he finds out his brothers, Mark and Smite, had been on the streets of London for two years. And whatever atrocities that happened to them in those two years, they won’t speak of it to Ash. He feels extreme guilt for leaving them, but he also has overwhelming anger and hatred for his distant cousin, the Duke of Parford, who turned Ash away when he asked for help for his sister.

In the present, Ash finds out that the Duke of Parford is a bigamist, and that his children from his second marriage can’t legally inherit the dukedom. So Ash goes to Parliament to spill the beans (so to speak) on the Duke of Parford. Now Ash is in line to inherit as the Duke is dying — which for Ash is the perfect revenge for his family.

But Ash didn’t take into account what would happen to the Duke’s children, and one person in particular, Lady Margaret Parford. Through no fault of her own, Margaret has lost everything in her life, and she had to watch her mother die through all this heartbreak. So when Ash moves into the Duke’s estate, Margaret’s family instruct her to stay behind to spy on Ash whilst in disguise of a nurse to tend to her dying father.

I loved that Unveiled didn’t tick the usual settings when it came to a revenge plot. It was turned upside down, and the behaviour of the protagonists really showed a maturity rather than the usual, ‘I hate you, and I’ll never EVA forgive you’ and all the fighting back and forth which if not done well can come off as irritating.

Margaret has lost everything, so at first, it’s not hard for her keep up the charade of spying on Ash. She also has a deep pain inside of her for what the scandal did to her Mother, and there’s a heartbreaking scene where Ash notices her pain, and leaves her to her grief. But when she gets to know him (Ash gives her no choice :D) and sees the goodness inside of him, I was glad to see the conflict inside of her when she realises he’s not a bad person. Margaret came off as brave and honorable when it came to her family which is exactly the same that Ash does for his. I didn’t feel as if Margaret had the upper hand over Ash with her disguise.

Ash was a great hero. He was approachable and he was genuinely nice, and to give up his childhood for his brothers, well, it showed what a true character he was. Sure, he was ruthless bastard when it came to revenge against the Duke, but to have that love and loyalty for his brothers was wonderful. Too often in historicals you have the high and mighty Duke whose has a veneer of ice in his approach due to his station. I want to see more historicals featuring characters such as Ash who are not part of the ton. To see him treat servants like they really mattered just endeared me more towards him.

The interactions between Ash and Margaret were the highlights for me. Despite being on the opposing end, Margaret didn’t try and hurt Ash on purpose. There wasn’t any forced antagonism. When Ash sees Margaret for the first time, he doesn’t think that she’s beneath him. He’s instantly attracted to her, but he treats her with respect. Margaret finds out just how much of a decent person Ash is which makes it so much harder for her to keep up the charade. She soon starts defending Ash and gives a bollocking to Mark and Smite for excluding Ash. She sees that Ash is vulnerable when it comes to his brothers, and this is where I find that Courtney excels at because she makes her characters human, and she makes them have heart.

I also loved the tension and dynamics she created between the Turner brothers. I really liked Mark, and I can’t wait for his book. I loved the contrast between them, and where Ash would tease Mark about his chastity. It will be mighty interesting to read Mark’s story and see how the heroine will pop his cherry :D. I do wish that there was more of Smite though. He seemed to pop up in the book, and then disappear again, and I didn’t get a feel for his personality. Then you have Ash who shows this confidence and brilliant mind for business, yet inside he feels inadequate to his brothers because of their intelligence, and harbours a secret that causes tension between him and Mark.

The situation with the revenge between Ash and Margaret’s family was resolved in a way that once again shows how much of a decent person Ash is, and it shows how much he truly loves Margaret. I

Whilst Trial by Desire is my favourite Courtney Milan book so far (mainly because of my soft spot for Ned), I think Courtney is going strength to strength in each new release. Unveiled is a wonderful story that showcases a romance between a hero and heroine who go on a discovery with one another that uncovers how far they’ll go in their quests for the ones they love.

I give Unveiled an A.

By Lou

One thing that Lou loves most is her HEA in romances.

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